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Another Western betrayal of Kurds...? pg http://tinyurl.com/8eol DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, March 29 (UPI) -- It appears American officials are still negotiating fiercely behind the scenes for continued basing rights in southern Turkey. Although there's no official confirmation, U.S. transport helicopters painted desert camouflage Saturday were ferrying people and equipment from Incirlik Air Base on the coast to an air strip in Kiziltepe originally meant to be a forward communication and command post for U.S. troops going into northern Iraq, according to a U.S. contractor at the base who declined to be named. The contractor was called in by the U.S. military to install communication equipment, including phone voice and data lines. "Site preparations" continue at the Kiziltepe base, said Major Judith Gardner, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces theater support and communications in northern Iraq from Incirlik. Journalists are not allowed on the base because of "Turkish sensibilities," Gardner said. "We are doing site preparations here for the last few weeks," Gardner said. "Given Turkish constraints, we've been quiet, but I think that will change in the next two to four days." An estimated 3,500 troops are supported by about 350 vehicles, the U.S. contractor said. Green-painted Humvees and other trucks and equipment are parked near the base's gate. The Turkish parliament earlier this month rejected a U.S. plea to allow U.S. troops to use Turkish soil to go into Iraq from the north, although it agreed to let U.S. planes fly through Turkish airspace. Turkey Friday temporarily closed its airspace to U.S. fighter jets after four pieces of what appeared to be a Tomahawk missile fell near Sanliurfa in southern Turkey. Last week two other missiles apparently fell off of U.S. war planes. While there were no injuries reported, the incidents were widely reported in the Turkish press. Basing rights will run through the beginning of May, said Joe Pennington, a U.S. embassy spokesman based in Ankara. He confirmed that negotiations are continuing to allow more U.S. troops in Turkey. "What they're talking about is ways to deal with northern Iraq," Pennington said of the negotiations late Friday. The U.S. military apparently has decided not to wait for Turkey to open its northern border. Military hardware in Turkey to support the 4rth Mechanized Infantry division has been put on a ship to be offloaded in Kuwait. And about 1,000 troops from the 173rd Airborne division parachuted into northern Iraq Thursday morning from a U.S. base in Vicenza, Italy. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk